Third and fourth degree perineal tears: A video for women
Webcast video recording – Launch
The Commission hosted a webcast to launch the standard on 21 April 2021.
The launch and panel discussion hosted by Professor Anne Duggan, Acting Chief Medical Officer, provides an overview of the new standard, and discusses some of the evidence driving the need for change.
Expert panellists include obstetrician Associate Professor Emmanuel Karantanis, midwifery expert Professor Hannah Dahlen, physiotherapist Natalie McConochie, and Janelle Gullan, a woman who experienced a third-degree perineal tear.
What is a perineal tear?
A perineal tear is an injury to the perineum, which is the area between the vagina and anus.
During labour, the skin and muscles around your vagina stretch to allow your baby to be born. Sometimes the area between your vagina and anus (the perineum) gets torn. This is known as a perineal tear.
Perineal tears are common and most heal well either naturally or with stitches. Some perineal tears are more serious and require surgical repair.
Tears are usually graded by ‘degrees’ from one to four according to how much of the area is affected.
|Type of tear
||Where it occurs
||Skin of the perineum
||May need stitches
||Muscles of the perineum
||Usually need stitches
||Muscles controlling the anus
||Lining of the anus
The diagram below shows the areas affected by a perineal tear